Google’s Impressive History
If you could scan your own brains for the words “web search engines,” Google would undoubtedly top the list of hits. Currently, about three quarters of worldwide digital online searches are carried out using Google’s web search service. Indeed the word “google” is so well known and ubiquitous that it has become a verb in numerous languages. Statistics about Google are so impressive that it’s hard to believe the company has only existed for twenty years. When it started in 1998, it wasn’t the first internet search engine, but won the contest over the competition through a combination of cutting edge technology, smart marketing, and good luck. The nascent Google was up against well-known big names search companies like Yahoo, Lycos, Alta Vista, Infoseek, not to mention, Microsoft, which had three search engines at different times – MSN Search, Windows Live Search, and later Live Search. All three are now bundled together and rebranded as Bing.
The earliest internet search engines were set up years before today’s well-known names. Indeed many predate the World Wide Web itself. The first one made its public appearance in 1990. It was called Archie. Archie could search File Transfer Protocol (FTP) sites and generate indexes of downloadable files. A year later, in 1991, Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, created the first World Wide Web virtual library on a web server at CERN (The European Council for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland. From 1991 until the establishment of Yahoo in 1994, many other internet search engines came and went. They included Veronica, Jughead, Wandex, and Infoseek. Today, Google, Bing and Yahoo are by far the biggest internet search engines in Western countries. In China, Baidu is the leader. (Li Yanhong, one of Baidu’s founders, was an Infoseek engineer. He moved to Beijing in 1999.)
In short, outside China, just about everyone with a computer or smartphone regularly uses Google to search the web, though some may occasionally use other services. Google outperforms competitors even more for searches on smartphones and other mobile devices partly due to its smart web page optimising software.
Unreliable usage statistic
Unfortunately, legitimate search engine usage figures from whatever source can’t be regarded as 100% accurate because of the huge amount of fraudulent traffic and bots (automated programs posing as humans that access web sites in order to increase traffic). NetMarketShare, a company that tries hard to filter out much of the fake data, estimates that as a percentage of global internet searches carried out in the year ending February 2018, Google had 74.06, Baidu 10.94, Bing 8.06, and Yahoo 5.32. DuckDuckGo, the privacy-focused internet search engine that doesn’t carry advertising or collect user data, accounted for 0.21%. In China, as one might expect, Baidu outscores Google and every other search engine. Reliable usage figures for China, however, are even harder to come by. Those that are publicly available vary hugely depending on the source and are virtually impossible to corroborate. Some put Baidu’s share at 60% and Google’s at 10%; others place the Chinese company’s share at around 70% and Google’s at 1.5%. Fake news, it seems, is everywhere.
As spectacularly useful as web search engines are to consumers, they are even more valuable to companies. Yet they can’t find digital data that’s not there, and most companies have significant amounts of that kind of data – data not stored online. Those digital records include textual documents, spreadsheets, databases, images, videos, sound recordings, plans, and scans. Most are stored on computer hard drives in various corporate locations and, not all are stored in the same digital format, or on computers with the same operating systems. Big enterprises generate so much internal digital data that important information is often irretrievable because, though they’re sure it’s stored on one or other of their computers somewhere, nobody can find it. Even the people who created it in the first place may not know where it is stored, or even remember having created it, or they might have left the company. Clearly a system of indexing and searching in-house stores of structured and unstructured data would not just be useful, but would be a godsend. Such systems exist. Indeed Google, among other companies, is in the business of supplying them.
Google Search Appliance (GSA)
Google Search Appliance (GSA) is a stand-alone rack-mounted enterprise search and archiving system. (Rack-mounted simply means hardware mounted in a rack-type storage unit.) GSA, which was launched by Google in 2002, is a sophisticated search system that uses Google’s proprietary archive, index, and search software loaded on a dedicated server housed in such a rack. In 2016, the company announced it was phasing out GSA and planned to replace it with a solely cloud-based service. Some Google customers transferred to the cloud-based service, but not all of them. Many corporate executives regard cloud based services as unsatisfactory alternatives to in-house systems like GSA because of privacy, control, security, and regulatory issues. Google’s decision to phase-out GSA left those businesses with no choice but to look for solutions elsewhere. That created an opportunity for other companies to fill the gap. One such company is Yippy. This Marco Island, Florida based company regarded Google’s shutdown of GSA scheduled for 2018 as neatly dovetailing with its own plans.
Yippy Search Appliance (YSA)
The value for all enterprise search systems is estimated to be about $5B annually, and expected to grow to $8B through 2022. Many market analysts agree that, while there is an obvious market for them with Google pulling out, those currently available don’t all satisfy the requirements of many potential corporate customers. As one of the most nimble and dynamic players in that field, Yippy is an exception. In 2009, it acquired advanced search technology created by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. The deal was important because it included an unlimited worldwide license for Velocity, specialist search software developed by the Pittsburgh company, Vivisimo. (In 2012, IBM acquired Vivisimo and rebranded it as IBM Watson Explorer.) In 2015, Yippy received a valuable endorsement when GlobalStar, the satellite communications company, selected Yippy to provide it with cloud, security, and access services. The following year, conscious of the unique opportunity afforded by Google quitting the in-house search appliance market, it released the Yippy Search Appliance (YSA). Both GlobalStar and IBM are obviously very confident of Yippy’s future prospects since both companies have become Yippy stockholders. Currently, IBM ($IBM) owns 7% and GlobalStar ($GSAT) 18% of the outstanding shares.
Apart from Google and Yippy, other companies have developed broadly similar enterprise search software applications. They include The Perfect Search Appliance (from The Perfect Search Corporation, Utah), Mindbreeze InSpire (from Austrian company Mindbreeze GmbH), Clusterpoint Search Appliance (from UK company Clusterpoint Ltd.), LucidWorks Fusion (from San Francisco corporation Lucidworks), and Autonomy (part of the UK public company Micro Focus), among others.
The Search Has Just Begun
Search in all its variations has come a long way from the days when users had to carefully type thought-out keywords combined with Boolean operators, if they wanted any chance of getting relevant results. Now users get answers to their queries (among other things) by just talking to their laptop, smartphone, or any number of stand-alone devices like Amazon’s Echo smart speaker, or Google’s Home speaker. The technology’s evolution in just a few years is astounding especially in the area of voice recognition.
The future of search is even more exciting and promising. It’s exciting because machine learning and natural language interaction between user and machine enabled by artificial intelligence systems (AI) are set to advance exponentially. For example, users looking for information on a complex subject in future will have an in-depth discussion about it with the search engine just as if they had a highly-qualified expert with them in the room. And it won’t be just any kind of highly-qualified expert; it will be one able to explain the most complex concepts in ways easily understood by each user. That will be possible because the system will have quickly assessed the user’s intelligence and current level of knowledge on the subject and, thus, how best to deliver the new data to that person. Most likely the teaching will be supported by interactive virtual reality demonstrations that won’t require cables and special headgear. These developments, which have huge implications not just for search, but also for education generally, won’t be here tomorrow, but will be here sooner than many people.
Investing in the Future of Search
This perspective on search’s future is very relevant to investors. The smart ones know it may be science fiction today, but it is solidly based on the realistically expected future trajectory of existing technologies. The size of today’s huge search companies is impressive, especially since they achieved that growth in less than two decades. Now, however, most of them have reached their growth limits and, perhaps ironically, though they were once at the cutting edge of technology, are now less well positioned to take full advantage of future opportunities. Now they must channel much of their corporate energies towards consolidation, fighting regulators in the US and the EU, and protecting their huge income streams from competitors. Nimble newcomers like Yippy, on the other hand, can devote much of their energies to thinking about the promise tomorrow holds. These newbies are rethinking the future and provide exciting opportunities for investors. Stockholders stand to profit from likely rapid growth – the kind of returns they could never expect from investing in the long-established behemoths.
In the seventies, rock group Fleetwood Mac had a hit song “Don’t Stop Thinking about Tomorrow.” Those words neatly sum up the corporate thinking of the new breed of future-focused search companies. Indeed, it would be the perfect corporate anthem for a company like Yippy.
We love the story and believe we could easily see $2.50 in the coming 12 months.
Trading Symbol: $YIPI OTCBB
Current Price: $.55
52 Week Low High: $.35 $.85
Shares Outstanding: 74,500,500
Estimated Float: 9,500,000
Market Capitalization: $37M